MADISON, Wis. — One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross released the following statements about a new memo from the independent, non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau showing students in unaccountable voucher schools would be getting an average of $1,000 more than students in public schools as result of Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget.
“The school privatization industry has given millions of dollars to Scott Walker’s political campaigns and he’s returning the favor,” said Scot Ross, One Wisconsin Now Executive Director. “Our public school students will suffer because Scott Walker is in the pocket of the school privatization profiteers.”
One Wisconsin Now research from the state’s campaign finance database showed that as of early 2016, Walker had received $2 million in direct contributions from pro-school privatization donors. This includes $350,000 to Walker from Betsy DeVos and her family. Overall, pro-school privatization individuals have made $4 million in direct contributions to Wisconsin political candidates from 2008-2016. DeVos’s American Federation for Children (AFC), a pro-voucher special interest group, has also spent over $5 million to help its favored politicians in Wisconsin.
In addition, based on a review of documents from the Bradley Foundation and information the organization filed with the IRS, One Wisconsin Now exposed that the organization, which was then overseen by Walker’s campaign chair Michael Grebe, spent over $108 million in support of groups helping to advance the education privatization agenda he favors between 2005 and 2014.
In 2016, Walker also appointed Daniel Kelly to fill a vacancy on the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. Kelly previously served as the general counsel for the Kern Family Foundation. According to IRS records, the foundation has $540 million in assets and doled out $27 million in 2012, $30 million in 2013 and $38 million in 2014 to right-wing causes, most notably school privatization.